Kasi Halwa Recipe | How to make Poosanikai Halwa

>>  Friday, December 19, 2014

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Kasi Halwa is a Traditional Halwa from Tamil Nadu made with White Pumpkin. White Pumpkin is called Poosanikai in Tamil, Boodida Gumadikaya in Telugu. White Pumpkin is also known as Ash Gourd and Winter melon. 

Coming to the halwa, I must have noticed this halwa being served in weddings and have always looked forward to eating it. At some point I must have even asked what it's called. The memory is so vague, on how I actually know or remember this halwa. However when I recently got exposed to this dish again, I was remembering all the occasions that I have tasted this. I say tasted as you only get to be served a teaspoon of this halwa. That was mostly more than enough as it used to be very sweet and nectar like. We keep accumulating information that you hardly remember where you learnt about certain dishes.

Imagine living in Tamil Nadu and being crazy about cooking all the Halwas possible, I completely forgot about this delicious halwa. During December we have a staff entertainment activity going on at work. Each year a small group is selected to organise the events that run through the month. This year it was Budget Kiladi, each team has to cook for the entire week during December within a given budget. Out of the four teams, mine was the first to cook. Well everybody actually wanted that. Of course I had zero adherence to budget and I was more keen on cooking from each state on each day. More on what we cooked and enjoyed will come later.

For today, this dish was featured on Monday. They got about 20 kgs of White pumpkin and served for about 70+ crowd. The moment the team said it was posssanikai halwa, I said yes Kasi Halwa! Though it is quite laborious, the final halwa tastes heavenly! Infact it is so hard to imagine how just the pumpkin and sugar can make so much magic. Except for the roasted nuts, there is nothing else. I was still deliberating on my third day Indian Dessert, it suddenly struck me that I could make this at home.

So for the third and final day under BM#47 for Indian Desserts, I have Kasi Halwa, a delicious halwa made with White Pumpkin. I got about 1/2 kg of pumpkin and ventured at making it as I was cooking dinner. Since it really takes long time for all the water to evaporate, it's best when you have this going along with your regular cooking. Konda helped me with grating some of the pieces. Rest I got it done in a jiffy. 

Most important thing to remember is to use a grater that has wide wholes. I used a very big one, yet after the halwa was done, I found it all melted and soft. So using a smaller hole will result in more water and nothing for you to use. I got about 6 cups of grated pumpkin and so much water. I thought I might use the water, but it will take longer time for the water to evaporate again. Since the halwa that was made in the office was more watery, I wanted to make it thick and used about 2 tbsp of Condensed milk and much more than required nuts. For a moment I wondered if it was Kasi halwa or cashew halwa!

The halwa was also very sweet, so just a cup of sugar is enough. Konda couldn't eat saying it's so sweet for her. However hubby dear who got to eat this the next day, when I wasn't around, asked me which shop I got the halwa. He said it tasted absolutely delicious and would surely want me to make it again for him. 

This is yet another sweet that can be served chilled or hot!

Kasi Halwa ~ White Pumpkin Halwa

Ingredients Needed:

Ash Gourd/ Poosinikai, grated - 6 cups
Sugar - 1 cup
Condensed Milk - 2 tbsp
Cardamon a pinch
Kesar Colour - a pinch
Ghee - 2 -3 tbsp
Cashews and Almonds - 1/4 cup

How to make the Kasi Halwa

Wash and peel the outer skin, and seeds. Using a grater that has big holes, grate the pumpkin. Once done, squeeze out the water.

Heat a non stick pan, add a tbsp of ghee, grated pumpkin. simmer and cook till all the water is evaporated. In low flame, it takes about 30 mins of cooking. This can be done if you want to let it get cooked on its own. Else keep an eye and keep stirring till the water gets evaported quickly.

When the vegetable comes together and you don't find much water, add sugar, kesar colour powder and combine everything well. As the sugar melts you will find more water. So keep stirring again until you find most of the water has evaporated again and you have the caramelised texture appearing.

Add cardamon powder, adjust sweetness and add the condensed milk. Quickly stir everything together and simmer.

Heat a pan with ghee, roast chopped nuts and pour over the halwa. At this stage the halwa is almost done. After couple of more stirs, switch off.


Adding condensed milk is optional. The halwa has a different texture, more watery if you don't add condensed milk. Using kesar colour gives a wonderful appeal and look to the halwa!

One cup of sugar was more than enough, more than that it will be very sweet and you won't be able to eat more than a teaspoon.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM


How to make Gulab Jamun | Easy Gulab Jamun Recipe

>>  Thursday, December 18, 2014

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Learn to make the most easiest and softest Gulab Jamuns!  For the second day of Indian Desserts, I decided on Gulab Jamun. I had originally wanted to bake these because I wanted to club this theme along with Bakeathon. However I didn't find enough Indian dishes that were baked that will suit both events. I had to settle for just this and do some other theme.

Gulab Jamuns are my favorite sweets that I had always enjoyed at home. Amma makes it a point to make Gulab Jamun for all birthdays and Deepavalis. This is a mandatory dish on the menu. Nothing matched the taste that comes from homemade version, even though it was made from a ready made powder. Later for Indian Cooking Challenge, I had made the Gulab Jamun from scratch at home and everybody enjoyed it. I even made a Chocolate Gulab Jamun. Somehow I never got back to making it again at home.

When I was looking for recipes made with Milk powder, I came across this recipe that uses Milk powder and plus it was baked. I was all for making it right away. I had made this during the weekend lunch. Though the time taken to make this would have been just under 30 minutes, I ended up using more than couple of hours as I was making whole lot of other dishes. I was so worried that the Gulab Jamuns might not turn out good as it was over resting.

I was in for a surprise as the jamuns turned out to be the softest ones I have ever tasted. It was so delicious and smooth that Peddu, who never eats sweets, gulped couple of them one after the other. Everybody loved it, I even got it for my colleagues who all wanted to try it at home. This is one great recipe that you can do it so quickly.

As per the clauses, I was supposed to pair it with Ice cream, in my shock and need to click it quickly so that I can sit and enjoy, I completely forgot about the ice cream that was lying around! Yes I had it served both as hot and chilled. Both the forms were so silky smooth and soft!

Milk Powder Gulab Jamun

Makes about 24 small sized gulab jamuns

Ingredients Needed:

For sugar syrup

Sugar - 2 cups
Water - 2 & 1/2 cups
Cardamom - 3 - 4 
Rose essence - few drops (opt)
Saffron threads - few strands

For the jamuns

Unsweetened Milk Powder - 1 cup
Unsalted Butter, soft - 1 tbsp
Baking soda - 1/4 tsp  
All purpose flour - 3 tbsp
Salt a pinch
Vinegar - 1/2 tsp
Milk - 1/3 cup 

How to make the Gulab Jamuns with Milk Powder

For the Sugar Syrup

In a saucepan, take the sugar, add water and bring to boil. When the sugar gets completely dissolved, boil for 5 more minutes and switch off. Add slitted cardamon, rose essence, cover with lid. Set the syrup aside.

For the Jamuns

In a mixing bowl, add milk powder, baking soda, flour and salt. Mix well.

Then add butter and vinegar. Add milk a little at a time and mix till it forms dough. You may not need all of the milk. Or require more.

When a soft, sticky dough forms, stop adding milk. Cover and let the dough stand for about 20 minutes.

After resting, the dough will be less sticky, airy and a little firmer. If its too lose, sprinkle a little flour. If its too dry, add a little milk. Mine was very dry, so added little more milk and kneaded again. Knead for couple of times. 

Dip your fingers in ghee, divide the dough into 24 even pieces and roll them into balls. Dip your fingers if they become sticky.

Heat enough oil for deep frying. Make sure the flame is always medium low heat. Test if the oil is in the right temperature. Drop a small ball and see if it slowly rises to the top. If it sits in the bottom, heat the oil more. If it quickly comes up, oil is very hot, so reduce and let it cool down.

Fry in batches and don't crowd the saucepan. 

The Jamuns should be browned evenly on all sides. For this you need to keep stirring slowly, making sure you don't break the jamuns.

When they turn brown, remove from oil using a slotted spoon and drop into the sugar syrup. 

Serve hot or chilled.


I only added 3 tbsp, and got jamuns that were very soft and spongy. However after soaking some balls got flatten. Next time I might add more flour and experiment.

These Jamuns can also be baked. The balls alone can be baked at 150C for 7 - 8 mins.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM


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